Maybe you are celebrating Juneteenth this weekend or maybe you’re just learning about it for the first time. Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day”, celebrates and commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger led Union soldiers into Galveston, TX to share the news that all enslaved people had been freed, even though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, more than two years earlier. It wasn’t until Gen. Gordon Granger and Union troops arrived and issued General Order #3 that more of the formerly enslaved learned of their new status. (You can click here for an infographic we made last year to learn more).
According to NJOF, the Juneteenth flag was created in 1997 by Ben Haith. The flag is red, white, and blue just like the American flag to show that the formerly enslaved and all of their descendants are free Americans. The star represents the state of Texas which was where the first Juneteenth was celebrated in 1865. It stands for freedom for African Americans all across the United States. The Pan-African flag in red, black and green is also used in many Juneteenth celebrations. It was created to represent the people of the African diaspora and symbolize Black freedom.
We asked members of our Primary community what their traditions are and what they're doing to celebrate this weekend:
“Juneteenth is upon us and what a beautiful day. When my family and I honor this day we like to do things like special home cooked meals, listen to African American artists, and even create some fun arts & crafts. There’s so many amazing ways to come together and appreciate how far we’ve come.” - @missporsha
“In our family we celebrate Juneteenth by doing just that celebrating. We gather with family and friends to enjoy delicious traditional foods that have been passed down from generation to generation (some homemade, some brought from local black-owned restaurants). We listen to music created by talented black musicians and artists, and attend local events honoring the beauty of our culture. On Juneteenth we rejoice and embrace being unapologetically BLACK!” - @thatdopemom
“Juneteenth is one of the most important dates in history to remember and we make a pretty big deal about it here. We talk about how we can honor our ancestors and I ask the girls how they want to celebrate each year. This year, they want to have a dance party! We also love “Juneteenth For Mazie.” This book introduces children to the history of the Juneteenth holiday in a very simple and straightforward manner. The most valuable part of this are the illustrations, which are extraordinary.” - @thediazgirls
"After viewing the magnificent documentary series, “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Changed America” on Netflix, our family will celebrate Juneteenth this year by recreating various dishes, which roots are traced back to pre-enslavement and enslavement times. By viewing this documentary series, we were able to learn about the influence of racial disparity, classism, and labor relations on African American food culture. It gives you a greater understanding of America’s deep-rooted history of slavery, the African ingredients that created so much of America and the impact on American food as we know it today." -@worldofskylar
Keep up with these creators and give them a follow! We hope everyone has a great day of celebrations and learning!
Show us how you're celebrating by tagging us with our hashtag #yesprimary on Facebook and Instagram!